A much improved upgrade experience

We've made a couple of much needed updates to the experience of upgrading your account.

First, affiliate commissions are now automatically applied to your upgrade, so if you have any, you will automatically get a discount. We've also integrated automatic pro-rating for when you're upgrading from one account level to another (e.g. Blogger to Pro - a common path that many users take). If you are eligible for either of these discounts, you will see this notice on the upgrade page:

And second, we've always had the ability for you to create a custom plan, but it was hidden behind a random link on the upgrade page that no one seemed to notice. Now, the custom plan creation is integrated right into the plan selection page. Select how many sites and how many daily page views you need (up to 1,000 and 500,000 respectively) and the price will immediately update to show you the cost, which you can then click on to proceed with the upgrade:

Probably not the most exciting blog post, but you'll thank us if/when it applies to you. The part we're looking forward to most is no longer having to manually process refunds for people upgrading from one level to another. The amount of time we have been spending on that recently was getting ridiculous.
3 comments |   Mar 18 2010 11:55pm

BREAKING: Receipts on demand

Much requested, way too long coming, you can finally print out a receipt for any previous payment you have made to Clicky. To access this, click the "View payments" link in the top right corner of your user homepage, and then click the "print receipt" link next to any payment at the bottom of the page.

You've always received receipts via email for any payment made. But for many of you, this is not sufficient, particular in Europe where you need your VAT# on pretty much everything. With this new receipt on demand method, there is a single large form field for you to fill out all of the billing information that you need displayed on the receipt. Then click print, boom, you're done.
2 comments |   Mar 17 2010 9:29pm

If you use Google Chrome, you'll like this

Clicky user Chris Nanney developed a plugin for Chrome using our API. The icon that appears in your plugin bar shows you how many visitors are on your web site right now, and clicking it will show the equivalent of "the basics" dashboard module. From here you can choose to view a summary of any site in your account, and select from a few basic date ranges to give you a quick summary of site activity. You can add as many sites to it as you want.

We love it when one of our users comes out of the blue with something like this. If you're a developer and have made something awesome with our API, or plan to, let us know. We may very well blog about it.

Install the plugin here

Announcement on Clicky forums

Chris's blog post about the plugin

11 comments |   Mar 14 2010 10:06pm

CDN update

Our idea of relaying incoming tracking data through our CDN seems to be unrealistic. It works near-perfectly, until there's even a minor network hiccup on either end (the CDN network or Clicky's home network). We're tracking so much data, when the network is unavailable even for just 10-20 seconds, data queues up insanely fast and this starts an inevitable downward spiral.

This is what happened today, a few different times. We tried many different tricks to make it work better, but nothing worked. There's a bit of missing data from your stats most likely. We apologize for that.

The CDN has been temporarily disabled so that all outgoing and incoming traffic points to our "real" servers again as soon as possible (DNS time-to-live values were only 15 minutes because of the auto-failover that Dyn DNS gives us, so this should happen very fast).

We're going to re-enable the CDN for our static files and tracking code within the next day or two, because that all worked perfectly. It was the incoming traffic data that was the problem, and this will now bypass the CDN entirely and go straight to headquarters. It's the outgoing data that's the most important anyways, so this isn't the biggest deal in the world. Logging incoming data would have been a nice addition to the arsenal, but life goes on.

Please don't assume we didn't test the CDN before deployment, because of course we did. But it wasn't until the full brunt of the entire world was sending incoming data to these servers that problems started surfacing. That scenario was untestable so the problems resulting it from it were not predictable until the system was live.

Update: The CDN is live again as of ~2AM PST on March 10. It is now only handling outgoing data. Things are working smoothly right now. If you notice anything strange, please let us know!
16 comments |   Mar 09 2010 4:35pm

Skynet is online

The Skynet funding bill is passed. The system goes online March 6th, 2010. Latency is removed from strategic web site tracking. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 4:32 PM Pacific time, March 8th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug. Skynet fights back. "Your web sites will be tracked quickly and efficiently, darnit!"

This logic is infallible. What we're trying to say here is, our custom built CDN is alive, and it's coming to get you.

We read all of your comments from our last post and investigated all of the options, and one week later, it's here. "Why reinvent the wheel?", some of you asked. Two answers: a) Maybe we don't like the wheel, and b) we love a good challenge. This has been one of the most enjoyable projects we've worked on for a while and the results are outstanding.

For our US and European presence, we chose VPS.net. To put it bluntly, this service is amazing. Through one interface, we were able to quickly, and quite affordably, create four Virtual Private Servers in four locations: West/Central/East United States, and London. We were also considering Linode, but the nature of our service is very high bandwidth and VPS.net delivered a better price.

We don't have East Asia or Australia yet, but we hope to announce more news in that department soon. We'll also probably add one more European server, somewhere in Germany most likely.

These four servers make up our new tracking network. (Update: eight servers now - Atlanta and London needed quite a bit more capacity then we originally allocated.) Not only do they store the tracking code that you link to you from your site, they also take the incoming traffic data back into them, so the overall tracking experience on your site should be much, much faster in every possible sense. Even if you are not in close proximity to one of these new servers, they are on faster networks than Clicky itself is, so it should be faster no matter where you are.

These servers also host all of our static files (images, flash, javascript, style sheets) so the experience of using our web site should be faster too, since the only thing your browser grabs from the "real" Clicky anymore is the HTML.

So how are we directing users to the nearest tracking server? That's where our friends at Dyn come in. They are one of the oldest, largest, and fastest DNS providers on the internet. They have a feature called "traffic management" that lets you assign multiple IP addresses to one hostname, and then assign each of those IPs to a region of the world. So a lookup request in Europe for static.getclicky.com (our tracking domain) will resolve to our London server. A request from the eastern US will resolve to our east coast server. Etc. It also includes automatic failover, so if one of these servers goes offline, DNS will start pointing to a different IP instead. It's really, really terrific.

The DNS changes may not have propogated for all of you yet, but by this time, most of you should have it.

So. Tell us what you think. The difference should be quite noticeable for most of you, and like we said, we hope to have Asia and Australia covered very soon as well. Soon, the world shall be ours!
17 comments |   Mar 08 2010 10:01pm

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